We've previously reported about unscrupulous tax preparers who take advantage of clients and commit tax crimes. In an effort to weed out these dubious tax preparers, the Internal Revenue Service recently established a new program called the Annual Filing Season Program. The IRS contends that participation in the program is voluntary. Independent tax preparers who participate will "obtain 18 hours of continuing education," and their names will be included in the IRS' Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications, which will appear on the agency's website.
The establishment of the AFSP has become a hot-button issue among independent tax preparers who previously filed a lawsuit against the IRS related to the agency's constitutional ability to establish such a program. Earlier this year, an appellate court sided with the independent tax preparers and ruled the IRS "did not have the legal right to regulate tax preparers. However, despite this ruling, the IRS recently announced the launch of the agency's voluntary AFSP.